Youre looking for things that would supercharge that nervous system and leave it more vulnerable, said George Everly, associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. You can have chronic exposure or traumatic event — either one works. Everly said some people with the disorder have a genetic history or have experienced traumatic events that make them hyper-sensitive to perceived threats. In severe cases, people can feel so afraid that they want to protect themselves in seemingly overzealous ways, he said, from installing extra security alarms to amassing weapons. Think of a lightning bolt going through electric currents [of the brain], he said. The result is a sensitization you get a sense of a person walking around, theyre hyper-sensitive to everything. Everything is magnified, specific fears are magnified. Everly said experts testing Pistorius will look for a family history of the anxiety disorder as well as exposure to trauma or anxiety-inducing events before forming a diagnosis.
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Liver reactions. When the body undergoes stress and anxiety, the adrenal system produces an excessive amount of the stress hormone cortisol. That hormone production leads the liver to produce more glucose , the high-energy blood sugar that engages your “fight or flight” reactions. For most people, this extra blood sugar in the body can be simply reabsorbed with no real damage. However, for those at risk for diabetes, the extraneous blood sugar could potentially cause health issues . Skin reactions.
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